Ibsen's Kingdom The Man and His Works Evert Sprinchorn

Publication date:
23 Mar 2021
Yale University Press
688 pages: 235 x 156 x 43mm
32 b-w illus.
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A major biography of one of the most important figures in modern drama, evoked through a biographical reading of his plays

Nineteenth-century Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen achieved unparalleled success in his lifetime and remains one of the most important figures in modern drama. The culmination of a lifetime of scholarship, Evert Sprinchorn’s ambitious biography constructs Ibsen’s life through a biographical reading of his plays. It presents provocative and insightful analyses of Ibsen’s works, placing them and their author within the social, political, and intellectual foment of nineteenth-century Europe. Sprinchorn captures for readers what it is that made these plays genius, and how Ibsen’s works attained their influential place not only in the field of drama, but in a wide intellectual sphere across Europe and the world. This sweeping new look at Ibsen’s plays is informative and useful as well as absorbing and thought-provoking. It will captivate anyone interested in the history of drama and the foundations of modernism.

Evert Sprinchorn is a senior scholar of Scandinavian literature and drama and nineteenth-century intellectual history. He is professor emeritus in the drama department at Vassar College and the author of Strindberg as Dramatist, among other books.

“Includes an interesting section on how the Norwegian playwright employed syphilis as the central metaphor in his play Ghosts. Venereal disease was rampant in Scandinavia in the 1880s and Sprinchorn charts how the author of Doll’s House was always willing to tackle a taboo subject.”—Martin Chilton, The Independent

“Not the story as often told, but that only makes it more valuable. Of the greatest interest not only to Ibsen scholars but to all serious students of modern drama and theater practitioners.”—Michael Goldman, Princeton University

“An exhaustive examination of Ibsen's life and work by a major scholar of Scandinavian literature, Ibsen's Kingdom is the fullest analysis of Ibsen as a ‘poet of paradoxes.’”—Joan Templeton, author of Ibsen's Women